From 17 August onward, the border between Singapore and Malaysia will start seeing more travellers as the Periodic Commuting Arrangement and Reciprocal Green Lane come into effect.
While it may still be a long time before the borders see its pre-COVID traffic of 300,000 Malaysia residents crossing into Singapore daily, the travel bubble arrangements between the two countries is a step in that direction.
This will be one of the firsts of such arrangements in Southeast Asia.
The Periodic Commuting Arrangement
The Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) will allow Malaysians employed in Singapore with a valid work pass to cross the border for work, and vice versa. However, this isn’t a daily commute arrangement. Under the PCA, those who Malaysians entering Singapore for work and Singaporeans entering Malaysia for work will have to spend at least 90 days in their country of employment before they’re allowed to go home.
PCA-approved travel applies for employees travelling across the border via personal transport, private busses or private-hire cars, or on foot.
Employers of Malaysian residents working in Singapore have to apply for the PCA on behalf of their employees at least seven days before the scheduled crossing. The application will only be processes after payment of S$200 for a COVID-19 PCR test.
Those who have arrived in Singapore will be subject to a health screening at the point of entry and must serve a 7-day Stay at Home Notice (SHN) at a declared location and undertake a COVID-19 test. If the test is negative, they will be released from SHN on the 7th day and be allowed to work. If the test is positive, however, they will receive medical treatment at their own cost or the cost of their employer.
After the 90 days are up, workers can choose to either go home for a short visit before returning to Singapore for work for another 90 days.
The same measures are implemented for Singapore residents travelling to Malaysia for work under the PCA.
Reciprocal Green Lane
As for the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), it is for short-term cross-border travel for essential businesses and official purposes between both countries via air and land checkpoints.
Travellers under this scheme will only be allowed a maximum of 14-days stay and have to undergo a pre-departure and post-arrival PCR test. They also have to strictly abide to a pre-declared controlled itinerary during their visit.
Those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore via RGL must be sponsored by a Singapore-based company or a Singapore government agency. The application for a SafeTravel Pass must be filed by them on behalf of the applicant.
Travellers will have to take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and obtain a certificate saying that their test is negative. The cost, again, is borne by the applicant. Upon arrival, they will have to undergo another PCR test. From there, the host company or government agency is responsible for transporting the traveller directly to the declared accommodation and remain there until the post-arrival PCR test is released.
If the test is negative, they can then proceed with the pre-declared itinerary. If the test if positive, they will receive medical treatment at their own cost.
Again, similar measures are in place for Singapore residents travelling to Malaysia under the RGL.
More information for both schemes for residents of Malaysia travelling to Singapore be found on Malaysia’s Department of Immigration portal while Singapore residents travelling to Malaysia can find out more on the SafeTravel website.
Before entering Singapore, those travelling under either schemes have to download the TraceTogether contact tracing app. Vice versa, those travelling to Malaysia will have to download the equivalent MySejahtera app. Travellers will be told when and where they can take the PCR tests, are prohibited from using public transport while under isolation, and bear the cost of any medical treatment.
As of Monday (10 August), Singapore has reported over 55,100 cases while Malaysia has over 9,000 cases of COVID-19. Both countries have continued to report new cases daily.